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HDR Sculpture

By Philo  
Shooting into the very bright sky on this occasion so I bracketed 3 exposures and processed in Oloneo HDR. The object of the exercise was to make the image look natural. Have I succeeded?
Tripod used fairly close to the ground, though I wish I had gone a little lower.

Tags: Yorkshire sculpture park Henry moore Hdr Digitally manipulated Oloneo Landscape and travel

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
23 Sep 2012 4:41PM

Quote:Have I succeeded?

The jury's out with me Phil.
I like the shot but the sky does look manipulated.
Having said that, it sits well with the quirky, slightly distorted effect that you've achieved in the rest of the shot.
So, does it look more natural? No, I don't really think that it does.
But does it work as it is? For me, at least, yes, it does.


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Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
23 Sep 2012 5:50PM
Nope. The halo round the sculpture defeats the object of looking natural with HDR.
You could have probably achieved this effect better with just one exposure.
I like dramatic angles though, and the composition works ok for me.

Philo 8 99 83 England
23 Sep 2012 7:19PM
Mmmm, it would appear that I have failed somewhat with the natural look. Bren, I have uploaded an unedited RAW file so that you can compare the "manipulated" sky with the original.
Nick, I am not sure about the halo you mention. I can see a pixel wide outline around the sculpture but I think this is just a bit of oversharpening on the web version. Is that what you are referring to?
Thank you both for your comments and I am pleased you like the shot overall.
I will continue with my HDR trial and then decide whether to buy.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
23 Sep 2012 7:59PM
The halo is most evident in the blue of the sky around the figure. It is subtle, but I noticed it looks like a grad effect radiating from the figure where the software has feathered the lightening used on the dark sculpture.

I can see now why you needed to lighten so much, maybe there is a setting on the HDR software to set the radius of the lightening from the dark outline? Maybe you could burn in the feathered area in PS to lessen it?
Could you have used flash to lighten the figure?

The uploaded mod original is darker than it needs to be...a stop or two lighter will still keep detail in the sky/cloud and give you a fighting chance with the shadows. I'm sure there is a better exposure that you used in your HDR.

Philo 8 99 83 England
23 Sep 2012 8:39PM
Thanks for the explanation, Nick, I think I can see what you mean but I am not sure if it is present in the original file. Unfortunately there is no way to control the amount of feathering directly, just the strength of tone mapping and detail. Yes I could have used flash, in fact that would have been a good exercise, but I specifically wanted to try HDR.
I have uploaded a version processed from the middle exposure for comparison.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
23 Sep 2012 9:08PM
I see what you mean about the sky Phil. I immediately assumed, incorrectly, that it looked that way because of the processing.

Now that Nick's mentioned it, I can see the white edge too, although I don't think that I would have done otherwise. I'm not sure what it is but it's just visible in V2, the copy of the RAW, if you enlarge it and processing's made it more obvious. I would have assumed it was a part of the reflection.
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
24 Sep 2012 4:38AM
What software are you considering Phil? Theres nothing in the original shot that needs HDR software, - Ive uploaded a simple Photoshop shadow retrieval as a comparison, and added more at the top, less at the right, removed a couple of spots in the sky. To me it appears more realistic, as it retains your original sky which is spot on.

I dont think it has that slight halo edge either, as its not in the original file, but Nick and Bren can find it if its there.


Philo 8 99 83 England
24 Sep 2012 6:57AM
Hi Willie, I am trying Oloneo HDR and when the trial runs out I may try Photomatix. As well as the obvious uses for the software I wanted to try it on shots like this where I would normally expose for the sky and recover shadow detail (like your very nice mod). This can, of course, introduce noise.
I accept that the result may not be totally natural but I don't want it to look obvious HDR.
I will keep trying and see if I can hone the technique.
Thanks again.
PS Your mod has also reminded me how much better the shadows/highlights tool is compared to fill light in ACR.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
24 Sep 2012 7:40AM

Quote:I dont think it has that slight halo edge either,

I opened the original in CS6 and enlarged it to silly proportions and it looks as if there's a row of very pale pixels on the edge but as I said, I think that it's part of the reflection.
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
24 Sep 2012 12:21PM
Phil, - all any of the single shot HDR programmes do is use the same principles as the shadow/highlight/midtone tools you might already have. They become most useful in the multi-shot scenarios. Just a heads up before you spend the cash.

Do you have Photoshop or Corel?

Bren, - I agree that would be normal then, not an issue.

paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
24 Sep 2012 5:41PM
The HDR is actually quite good, how often do I say that! The blur inthe clouds due to thelong exposure is what makesit look less than natural. Did it actually needsuch a long exposure.

Philo 8 99 83 England
24 Sep 2012 9:45PM
Willie, I must have confused you somewhere along the line. I am only using the HDR software for multiple exposures.
V3 has been processed from a single exposure in Adobe Camera RAW just for comparison. I am using CS5.

Quote:The HDR is actually quite good, how often do I say that!

Paul, I will frame this quoteWink. I didn't think 1/15s was that long but is has been increased due to the use of a polariser.


banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
26 Sep 2012 12:41AM
Thanks Phil, - I was confused. Ive only ever used Photomatix, so not familiar withthe other one. Photomatix is very good.

CS5 has a HDR toning adjustment built in, - have you given that a try also?

Philo 8 99 83 England
26 Sep 2012 6:50AM
Willie, the plan is to try Photomatix once the Oloneo trial has finished and then compare the two. I am using the basic version of the latter which has the same HDR engine as the full blown one without a few bells and whistles. This is half the price of Photomatix.
I tried CS5 but wasn't too impressed and it is really, really slow.
alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
29 Sep 2012 12:17AM
Tried my hand at this, biggest difference is in terms of saturation, reduced it drastically in my mod. Also tried to tackle the reflections/halo on the statue by blurring the sky/clouds around it.
Philo 8 99 83 England
29 Sep 2012 8:24AM
Thanks for having a go at a mod, Alastair. For me the desaturation is a little strong. As for the halo, I am not convinced it exists; the sky naturally darkens around the sculpture. Having said that you seem to have done a good job on the sky.
ade_mcfade 14 15.2k 216 England
30 Sep 2012 3:09PM
Had you not mentioned HDR, I bet no one would have spotted it Wink
Philo 8 99 83 England
30 Sep 2012 4:55PM
Would have been interesting to see, Ade.

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